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On both sides of the camera

Steichen's observation that a portrait is made on both sides of the camera rings true with me. If the subject and the photographer are not fully engaged it is likely a mug shot. That said "fully engaged" is a slippery term. Perhaps "belonging to the time and place" would be a better statement.

Clemens (Clem) Starck (above) is a poet whom I have met from time to time at booksellers' events. He and I are about the same vintage and both of us have become who and what we are largely as autodidacts. Moreover his work is firmly rooted in his observations of everyday life -- just as mine is. I asked him if I could photograph him while he was signing books. "Sure what do you want me to do." "Sign books." He laughed and I took this photograph.

This portrait came to mind because I found that he had just published a new book "Old Dog, New Tricks". I ordered it.


What else is new? Well, I finally got back in the darkroom this week -- only to make contact prints of the few rolls of film I've exposed in the last few months (since October in fact). There are a few negatives that I want to print.


One of my prints was used in a "branding" TV spot advert for the New York Times. The spot, in my not-at-all-humble opinion was much too crowded and intense but that's New York I guess. They paid me handsomely for it so who am I to complain.


Much more to my satisfaction, a print from my "On Reading"series was used as the cover photograph for a textbook on educating teachers of reading -- published by a university press in Italy. The same photograph was used on a similar textbook published by a university in Poland and several others from that series in the body of the book.


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